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CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley

News/Business. Scott Pelley. (2012) New. (HD) (CC) (Stereo)




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Pelley 9, Washington 7, Scranton 6, Chicago 6, America 4, Scott 4, The City 3, Texas 3, David Martin 3, Ocuvite 2, Aaron Helstrom 2, Rahm Emmanuel 2, Lance Armstrong 2, Vincent Gray 2, Cbs News 2, La Nina 2, Elaine Quijano 2, Ben Tracy 2, Anna Werner 2, Pacific 2,
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  CBS    CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley    News/Business. Scott Pelley.   
   (2012) New. (HD) (CC) (Stereo)  

    July 10, 2012
    6:30 - 7:00pm EDT  

>> pelley: tonight, going broke. a city near bankruptcy cuts the pay of firemen and cops to minimum wage. another city's cuts have students jammed into classrooms. elaine quijano and ben tracy on cities in crisis. the supreme court upheld the president's health care law. but now several states are opting out. anna werner reports. what's behind this extreme weather? wyatt andrews say a government study out today names the culprit. and david martin on the unbelievable mountains of paper that stand between wounded veterans and their benefits. >> you're surrounded by paper. i am. i am. this is my daily life. captioning sponsored by cbs
this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. if you go to the official website for the city of scranton, pennsylvania, you will find this boast: "the future is here." well, city workers hope not because their pay has just been slashed to minimum wage. scranton is just one of many cities struggling to recover from the great recession. american cities have seen their revenues decline for five straight years. 72% of them are making personnel cuts. it's a problem most everywhere so we have reports from east coast to west. first, elaine quijano in scranton. elaine? >> well, scott, when public union workers opened their paychecks here last friday they were shocked to see just how small those checks were. now they're wondering what's next for them and their city.
ate scott, it has been a fight here certainly a difficult time for the city of scranton. the unions, in fact, are suing the mayor here, chris doherty and the city, in order to stop the pay cuts. as you've said, they are now getting minimum wage, some 400 public union workers. that is $7.25 an hour. we talked to one worker here today who has been with the department of public works for some 26 years, and here now is his story. robert has worked for scranton's department of public works for 26 years. he made $19 an hour. but last week his salary, along with nearly 400 other public workers, was cut to minimum wage. $7.25 an hour. >> i own a house in the city. two children. a wife. we have car payments.
we have house payments. we have utility bills. we have to pay them all. it won't be easy to do on this kind of money. >> reporter: scranton faces a $16 million budget gap. the mayor proposed either a 29% tax hike or drastic cuts. wage cuts are one thing. >> right. eporter: minimum wage is another. >> we don't have enough money. that's what it comes down to. we're trying to balance, how do we get through this. >> reporter: he says after paying the workers minimum wage, the city had just $5,000 left. >> we probably would have lost the gas and the diesel for our police vehicles, our fire truc trucks. we probably wouldn't have been allowed inside the landfill to dump our garbage. >> reporter: it's that dire. that's right. reporter: so he sent out this letter telling workers the cut would be for the foreseeable future. although he could make more on unemployment, robert pulgiese is still showing up to work hoping city leaders find a solution
soon. >> it's sad it came down to this. i can't understand how it could get this bad. i could never run my household down this low. you know. i don't know how they could run the city down this low. >> reporter: now last week a judge ordered the workers be paid full wages. scott, now the unions want the mayor held in contempt. >> pelley: elaine, thank you very much. it's one of the reasons that our recovery is so slow. the lay-offs of government employees. our research department found that since 2009, more than 700,000 have lost their jobs. one of the best places to see the pinch is in the public schools of los angeles where we find ben tracy tonight. >> save our schools! reporter: this year the los angeles unified school district laid off more than 4,000 employees, classrooms are so packed, some students don't have desks. superintendent john daisy was forced to eliminate half of his
administrative staff because he could not afford to lose more terchers. how big are the challenges especially when it comes to finances? >> they're enormous. we have an overall budget in the last three years i've seen a $2.1 billion in reduction. we don't actually run the programs we used to. two years ago we ran $49 million worth of summer school. this summer it will be just under $1 million. >> reporter: last month the l.a. teachers union agreed to ten unpaid furlough days to save 4,000 jobs. the school year will be five days shorter. 18 days have now been cut from the school calendar in just four years. marie adams teaches high school math. she says with fewer teachers, classrooms that had 20 students now have 31. >> when you have, you know, ten more students in the classroom, that's a lot more questions to answer. and it's just hard to get to all their individual needs. >> reporter: california voters face a choice in november to plug the state's $16 billion deficit. they either approve a half-cent
sales tax increase, an income-tax hike on those making more than $250,000 or face 5.4 billion dollars in automatic cuts in education funding. >> we were the envy of the united states, and our highway program was the envy of the world. you know, 25 years ago. that is not the case any longer. >> reporter: now, if those new taxes are not approved this fall and billions more are cut from education, the l.a. school district could actually opt to shrink the school year by another three weeks. scott, that would leave l.a. with the shortest school year in the country and one of the shortest in the entire industrializedded world. >> pelley: thanks, ben. if that seems short, consider the school day in chicago. it was cut back to five hours and 45 minutes. that is is going to expand in the fall, however, to more than seven hours. that's one of the things that the new mayor is doing. rahm emmanuel took over the office of the mayor about a year ago and despite shrinking budgets he's trying to get
chicago growing. he's asking private banks, "for example, to invest in public projects like roads. he's cutting regulations to give business a break. we sat down with emmanuel in chicago to talk about managing the third largest city in hard times. in terms of jobs, as a mayor, is washington so gridlocked now that it's essentially useless to you and you need to go out and do your own thing in the city of chicago because the help is not coming from d.c.? >> where i used to as the mayor rely on washington, i'm going to try to come up with different strategies to do a breakout because i'm not going to get stuck in their dysfunctionality. i'm not going to get caught in the back of the state. they have their own budgetary issues. on the other hand, if washington doesn't do certain things, i can't create an island, as much as i would like to. i can't hold off certain decisions that washington does,
but where i can have a breakout, we're going to take our road of independence. >> reporter: you said washington was dysfunctional. >> okay. is that breaking news? you're not going live with that right now, are you, scott. >> pelley: that's the way it seems to you running the third largest city in america. dysfunctional. >> i have my own view of why but on certain things in my view to allow an ideology to become an impasse to progress where it's a mistake. you should not be more loyal and more of a slave to ideology. be pragmatic and make a decision. we're doing things in the city of chicago, having nothing to do with philosophy and ideology but making sure that tax payers and residents get what they deserve. >> reporter: mayor rahm emmanuel of chicago. some states facing budget problems are opting out of participating in the president's health care law. and the costs that are associated with it. among them, texas. where six million residents don't have health insurance.
anna werner takes us there. >> more than half the patients at the health clinic in dallas are uninsured. nearly a third are on medicaid. the federally sponsored insurance program for the poor. dr. seuss and briner runs the clinic. who are these people that you're seeing? >> the people without health insurance in texas are the people who work at low-paying jobs, the people you would expect, you know, the people who work by the hour, who work in restaurants, who work in yards, who work in day cares. >> reporter: two million more low-income texans would be covered by med kaid expansion prescribed by the affordable care act but texas is refusing to participate. joining wisconsin, florida, and louisiana. texas would be eligible for $164 billion in federal aid to pay for the expansion through 2020. but lieutenant governor david dewhearst says texas' share of
$27 billion would be a heavy burden. >> quite frankly, the med kaid system is broken and by simply adding a million-and-a-half to two million more people to medicaid will not solve the problem. >> reporter: texas will also be the lurchest state to refuse to create the state-run health care exchanges that would allow people to shop for affordable coverage. in a letter to the obama administration texas governor rick perry called the rirms intrusions into the sovereignty of our state. >> it doesn't materially improve the health care of texans and americans. and in five short years, it will start to bankrupt the state of texas and other states. >> reporter: opting out will not stop health care exchanges from being set up in texas. if the state doesn't do it, federal authorities will. now, texas leaders were betting that the supreme court would likely strike down the health care law so they've done little
to prepare for the exchanges that must be set up by 2014. but, scott, a provision in the health care law does specify that even if federal authorities do set up the exchanges, texas could petition to take over those exchanges eventually at some point if they chose to. >> pelley: anna, thank you. wounded veterans are being forced to wait months and longer for their benefits. a report links man made climate change to extreme weather. and this is about as extreme as it gets. where this hurricane is headed, when the cbs evening news continues. last season was the gulf's best tourism season in years. in florida we had more suntans... in alabama we had more beautiful blooms... in mississippi we had more good times... in louisiana we had more fun on the water. last season we broke all kinds of records on the gulf.
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>> pelley: we've been reporting on a lot of extreme weather. today for the very first time, government scientists are saying that these events are likely connected to man made climate change. that's the conclusion of a report today by the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. wyatt andrews shows us what it means. >> reporter: the report says last year's record drought in texas was made roughly 20 times more likely because of man-made climate change, specifically meaning warming that comes from greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. the study, requested by noaa, the national oceanic and atmospheric administration,
looked at 50 years of weather data in texas and concluded that man-made warming had to be a factor in the drought. the head of the climate office is tom carl. >> what we're seeing not only in texas but in other phenomena, in other parts of the world where we can't explain these events by natural variability alone. they're just too rare, too uncommon. >> reporter: aside from the texas drought, n.o.a.a. called the entire year of 2011 "the" year of extreme weather events. >> , starting in joplin, missouri. all told there were seven tornado outbreaks in america last year that caused a billion dollars or more in damages. there were increased hurricanes in the north atlantic, unprecedented flooding in australia, and widespread drought in east africa. all of that was caused by la nina. typically lalean i can't is marked by a sharp cooling in the pacific, but last year's la nina was the warmest ever. again the government concluded
that global climate change played a role. >> what's happening is these normal fluctuations between el nievment nono and la nina events that lead to some of the extreme conditions become more extreme, more intense than they might otherwise have been because we've got increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leading to a warmer planet. >> pelley: wyatt, n.o.a.a. made a point of saying today that the climate change they've identified is is man made. why did they say that? >> scott, you know, going back 50 years, they know what temperature and dryness conditions are associated with texas drought. when they put that in the computer, nothing explained the intensity and duration of what we saw last year in texas until they factored in the added heat coming from climate change. you're going to see a lot of scientists criticizing this as a guess, but n.o.a.a. for the first time is arguing, scott, that this is science. >> reporter: thank you, wyatt. all of this talk about warming
got us debating in the news room today about who invented the air conditioner. our research department settled it for us. the modern air conditioner was invented by willis carrier in 1902, a printing company in brooklyn, new york, was having trouble with humidity so carrier ran chilled water through coils to cool the air and lower the humidity. he called it manufactured weather. we saw some powerful natural weather over the pacific today. these are satellite photos of hurricane emilia. this storm is a monster with winds up to 140 miles an hour. fortunately, it is hundreds of miles off mexico moving out to sea and not a threat to land. this can't be good for lance armstrong. some of his closest advisors have been banned from cycling. that's ahead. it was like a red rash...
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consulted with many of the world's top riders. he was charged with giving them banned drugs. armstrong is fighting charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs. if the charges stand, he could lose his seven tour de france titles. the olympic torch lit up faces today at windsor castle. queen elizabeth and prince philip welcomed the torch bearers on this 53rd day of the relay across the u.k. the royal family will be on hand when the torch reaches london for the opening of the summer games on july 27. america's wounded warriors fighting a new enemy. mountains of paperwork. fighting a new enemy. mountains of paperwork. that's next. contact lenses are approved d for up to 30 days and nights of continuous wear, so it's okay to sleep in them. visit for a free 1-month trial.
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>> pelley: finally tonight, america, of course, owes a great debt to the men and women who have sacrificed so much in more than a decade of war. but it turns out many are forced to wait months, even years to get disability benefits. david martin has been investigating what's behind the delay. >> reporter: it's iraq 2003 and a tragedy is about to happen. when that marine pulled the trigger on that rocket-propelled grenade launcher, it blew up. after the smoke cleared, two marines lay dead. aaron helstrom was riddled with shrapnel. >> i have a fused spine that is
causing me pain every day. >> reporter: he returned to active duty, served a tour in afghanistan, and went on to become a master sergeant. several months before he finally retired, helstrom submitted this disability claim to the department of veterans affairs, the v.a. it lists a total of 65 conditions ranging from his shrapnel wounds to p.t.s.d. which would qualify him for $2800 a month in disability pay. >> they say at the time of your retirement or when you get out, you will start receiving your compensation claim. that's not the case, no. >> reporter: helstrom retired on december 1, 2011. seven months later, all he had gotten from the v.a. was a monthly form letter. >> "we're still processing your application for compensation." >> reporter: that makes helstrom one of half a million veterans who claims are caught in the increasing v.a. backlog. >> it's actually 565,000, way too often.
>> reporter: the v.a.'s director of benefits says the system has been swamped by a quarter million new claims from a change in regulations that allowed more vietnam veterans to file disability claims from exposure to the pesticide agent orange. on top of that, she says veterans from iraq and afghanistan, whose lives were saved by advanced in battlefield medicine, are now filing claims at a record rate. >> 45% of them are filing a claim. that is unprecedented in terms of the number of veterans that will file a claim with us. >> reporter: all flooding into a bureaucracy that lags behind other agencies like the i.r.s. in switching from paper to electronic files. >> we have 4.4 million active records. paper records across our 56 regional offices today. these paper files are not one and two pages. big. they are reames and reames and reames of people. >> reporter: this is one of those paper files.
one veterans' claim being handled by the v.a. office in salt lake city. they're not all this big. but until now, they all had to be processed by hand. this woman spends her days gathering the evidence needed to support a veteran's claim. you're surrounded by paper. >> i am. i am. this is my daily life. the paper files. >> reporter: david, himself a disabled veteran, also handles claims for the v.a. he knows firsthand those files represent people's lives. >> i put in my claim for disability. i went through the systems. i went through this just like all the other veterans. >> reporter: that brace on his wrist is not a war wound. it's from handling all the paper. the v.a. plans to switch from paper to electronic files by the end of 2015. melissa collins is thrilled as how much easier that should make her job. >> we have our two screens. i can move it over. i can be looking at the
application on this screen, and i can be working on this screen. >> reporter: it won't come in time to help aaron helstrom, but talking to cbs news did. the day after we contacted the v.a. about his case, he got a call from them. >> i have an appointment at 12:30. at 1:15, at 2:00, at 2:45 and then at 3:30. back to back to back to back appointments. >> reporter: he set off for those appointments still lugging all his paperwork. if the v.a. keeps to the new schedule, helstrom's claim should be settled by labor day and the v.a. will have one less backlogged case. david martin, cbs news, manassas, virginia. >> pelley: and that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news, all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:59pm this is 9news now. >> tonight, another person has pleaded guilty in the investigation into the campaign finances of d.c. mayor, vincent gray. this time a d.c. pr executive confessed in federal court to helping raise $650,000 in illegal campaign contributions. and confirmed her connection to a shadow campaign supporting gray. all funded by her associate, jeffrey thompson. our bruce johnson has the latest from the federal courthouse in northwest. >> even after today's court appearance, mayor vincent gray has yet to be implicated. the local businessman raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for the mayor and other elected officials, he was certainly implic